The rugby star choir boy
Rugby players and choir boys typically occupy two very different worlds. But One Tree Hill College student Antonio Vila proves it possible to be serious about both. The 17-year-old has been the captain of the First XV while singing as an integral member of the school’s boys chorale choir.
On August 27 the choir won a silver award at The Big Sing Finale in Dunedin, a national secondary schools singing competition. But unlike many of the choirs in the competition, singing is a new craft to One Tree Hill College - the Auckland school only entered the competition for the first time in 2013. They were one of 24 in the event that were selected from 300 schools throughout the country. The silver award now ranks them as the second best boys’ choir in New Zealand and seventh in the overall national standings.
Vila says getting the award was about ‘‘dedication’’ and going beyond what was expected of them. ’’Even though we don’t have [scheduled] practices they would all want to practice after school and lunchtimes,’’ the Penrose resident says.
Antonio says he’s comes from a family of sportsmen who like to sing around the home. ’’I thought, why not do both and just make the most out of what I have at school, the opportunities.’’
Choir director Terence Maskell says when he first joined the school in 2011 it was agreed among staff that singing should be pursued as it was something most children could do. Now a culture of singing is gradually building in the school to the point where the First XV captain is involved, Maskell says.
‘‘Which is unusual in a school … [Antonio] is setting a huge role model to the other jocks around who may think that singing is not for them.’’
One Tree Hill College boys chorale singers Antonio Vila, Kewin Khoonthong, Jonathan Abiad and director Terence Maskell.